Norval Foundation celebrates reopening with first solo exhibition

As the pandemic’s second wave subsides, a new window opens on the arts. Visitors are once again invited to immerse themselves in the world of art while social distancing in Norval Foundation’s spacious galleries and sprawling Sculpture Garden.

Norval Foundation presents The Reunion: Georgina Gratrix
“All the Birthday Bouquet”, 2016. Pictures courtesy of Norval Foundation

In line with current health and safety regulations, Norval Foundation presents The Reunion: Georgina Gratrix, the South African artist’s first solo exhibition at a museum. The exhibition will be on display from Saturday 13 February 2021 to Monday 31 May 2021. Curated by guest curator, Liese van der Watt, The Reunion brings together 25 major artworks by Gratrix completed between 2011 and 2020, and draws upon the holdings of the Homestead Collection, based at Norval Foundation, as well as loans from private lenders.

Norval Foundation presents The Reunion: Georgina Gratrix
“Parrot Pair”, 2017
Norval Foundation presents The Reunion: Georgina Gratrix
“The Appraisers”, 2018

Georgina Gratrix, born in Mexico in 1982, is known for paintings that feature expressive, impasto brushwork and humorous yet uncomfortable distortions of figures, objects and landscapes filtered through a colour saturated aesthetic. Portraits of family and friends, as well as artworld insiders and popular culture icons, appear alongside oversized still life paintings of impossibly exuberant bouquets and, to a lesser extent, verdant landscapes recalling the province of KwaZulu-Natal, where the artist grew up.

Norval Foundation presents The Reunion: Georgina Gratrix
Georgina Gratrix

Van der Watt’s understanding of South African art history is complemented by an awareness of global developments in the discipline, making her ideally positioned to reflect critically on Gratrix’s practice. Van der Watt taught art history at the University of Cape Town before moving to London in 2007. She has published widely on contemporary art from Africa in peer reviewed journals and books, visual art publications and online forums. According to Norval Foundation, this collaboration reaffirms its aim to be a platform where cultural practitioners with different understandings and backgrounds can interpret the cultural practices of the present and recent past.

In light of the ongoing health crisis, an online public programme will accompany the exhibition over the course of its presentation with conversations and presentations taking place on digital platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and Zoom.

Good to know: Only 20 people will be allowed into the gallery where The Reunion will be on view. For the exhibition’s opening weekend on Saturday 13 February and Sunday 14 February 2021, visitors will be required to book timed slots – either in advance online or at the front desk.

Did you know? The Reunion will be accompanied by a catalogue edited by chief curator Owen Martin and curator Khanya Mashabela with a text by Van der Watt and an interview with the artist by Mashabela. The Reunion appears alongside Alt and Omega: Jackson Hlungwani and iiNyanga Zonyaka: Athi-Patra Ruga.

Take note: Norval Foundation is open Mondays to Sundays from 10:00 to 17:30 and closed on Tuesdays. Last admission 30 minutes before closing.